Tincup, Colorado was small mining town in central Colorado, located on the west side of the Rocky Mountains. Much like TX Whiskey does to the Texan lifestyle (which you can read about HERE), Tincup Whiskey does a lot of marketing to the Colorado mountain-man lifestyle. As a native Texan and a current Colorado resident, I figured it would be appropriate to review popular Colorado whiskey after my TX Whiskey review.
In this post we’re going to cover the basic history, tasting notes, and best ways to drink Tincup Whiskey. So, if you have Colorado roots or are just interested in trying Tincup, keep on reading, and we’ll give you all the information you need.
Tincup Whiskey History
Tincup was founded by Jess Graber in 2014. Originally, Jess and George Stranahan had founded Stranahan’s Whiskey in 2004 out of Denver, Colorado. However, in 2010, Stranahan’s was bought out by Proximo Spirits. Well, under the Proximo umbrella, Jess set out to create a high-rye bourbon which turned into Tincup Whiskey.
As mentioned previously, Tincup was originally a mining town, and the miners would drink out of, and carry gold in, tin cups. For marketing purposes and to pay homage to the old, small town (now a ghost town), Jess names the whiskey Tincup.
Tincup Whiskey at First Glance
The first thing you notice about the bottle is the tin cup cap. After that you have glass engravings of the Tincup name, mining symbols, and a statement that says it’s cut from the whiskey is cut with water from the Rocky Mountains.
First off, the tin cup cap is great. You can use it to pour yourself shots or to sip out of. Here in Colorado, hiking and camping are huge parts of life in the warmer months. Having a cup with your bottle is a great addition. When it comes to the rest of the bottle, the glass is just nice. It has a hexagonal shape that is said to keep the bottle from “rolling downhill”, per their website. Now, I don’t normally have liquor bottles roll away from me, but it sticks to the Colorado and mountain outdoorsy theme and it looks cool.
Like TX Whiskey, Tincup is a blended whiskey. It’s compromised of two whiskeys, high rye bourbon from Indiana and a small amount of Stranahan’s single malt whiskey. Now, I understand Colorado isn’t exactly known for it’s distilling, but a very large portion of it is sourced from the Midwest.
After whiskey is aged in barrels, it usually comes out at a very high alcohol content. Water is then used to cut it to proof. Tincup, as it says on the bottle, cuts it’s whiskey with water straight from the Rocky Mountains.
Tincup Whiskey Taste
Now that we’ve gone over the history and look of Tincup, it’s time to move on. Here’s probably the information you are looking for. Does Tincup taste good? What does it taste like? We’re going to cover that below in our Tincup flavor profile.
Tincup Flavor Profile
Nose: Overall pretty light. Mainly citrus, light earthy notes, and caramel.
Palate: Fairly thin. Spice comes in from the rye, citrus/fruit flavors transfer over from the nose.
Finish: A little spice, not so much as to burn.
Tincup Taste Summary
I really like Tincup. There’s nothing incredibly special about it, but it’s a good sipping whiskey for those that don’t like any burn. I drink nearly all of my whiskey on the rocks, Tincup is a whiskey I can drink neat with ease. As I mentioned, there isn’t much there in terms of depth and complexity, but it completely lacks any burn at all. This is to be generally expected from a whiskey at 42%, or 84 proof. I’ll get into more of this below, where I cover the best ways to drink Tincup.
Best Ways to Drink Tincup
Since Tincup isn’t a high-end, top-shelf whiskey, it is perfectly appropriate to mix. But…. how should you drink Tincup? I’ll cover that below.
1. On the Rocks / Neat
Tincup Whiskey is certainly good enough and easy enough to drink by itself. If you’re looking for a whiskey with a lot of character in its flavor, this isn’t it. If you’re looking for an easy whiskey to drink and don’t want the sugar or calories of soda or coke, Tincup on the rocks or neat is the way to go.
Just the other day I was up in the Rocky Mountains at Breckenridge with some friends. We sat down for dinner, and I ordered Tincup on the rocks. It was the perfect whiskey for sipping and enjoying conversation without thinking too much about what I’m drinking.
2. Whiskey Mule
Add ginger beer and a lime wedge to a shot (or a couple) of Tincup Whiskey. At that same dinner I just spoke about, my buddy ordered this and it was delicious. The orange citrus flavors of Tincup mixed perfectly well with ginger beer and lime.
3. Old Fashioned
Throw some simple syrup, bitter, and an orange twist in a glass of with Tincup. I prefer it as a mule or neat, but a Tincup Old Fashioned is still a solid choice.
Tincup Whiskey Price
It isn’t all about taste. Much of what goes into our purchasing decisions revolves around price. Below, we are going to cover the average price of a bottle and handle of Tincup. As a note, prices may vary depending upon individual store and location.
Tincup Whiskey 750ml: $22-28
Tincup Whiskey 1.75L: $40-48
Tincup Whiskey Value
This is the section where we compare taste and price to determine if Tincup is worth buying. At my local liquor store, Tincup is $21.99. Now, I know it may be a bit cheaper for me since I’m in Colorado, but at $22 Tincup is a great value. Here at Barrel and Brew, our favorite sipping whiskeys that aren’t crazy expensive are typically $30-45. However, it’s nice to have something on the shelf that you can drink and not think about, and that’s where Tincup comes in.
You want to sip a whiskey while reading, playing video games, watching football? Tincup is the way to go. No one likes going through a $40 bottle without paying attention to it. I’ll happily drink a $22 bottle in the background of hanging with friends, gaming, or some other primary activity.
I didn’t want to conclude this article without saying mentioning a little something about the other options in the Tincup lineup.
This is the Tincup whiskey we’ve covered thus far. It is a blend of MGP high rye bourbon and Stranahan’s Single Malt. Aged at least four years in #3 charred oak barrels and bottled at 42% abv (84 proof).
This is just the original Tincup that has been aged 10 years. The extra 6 years in oak casks add a bit more depth than the original has. Stronger flavors of oak and leather are prominent. I was a little disappointed that they didn’t bottle this at a higher abv.
Instead of using a high rye bourbon as with the original and Tincup 10, this rye whiskey is 95% rye and 5% barley. It’s aged 3 years and cut with the same Rocky Mountain water. If you want a Tincup Old Fashioned, I recommend you use the rye.
Tincup Whiskey Summary
Tincup is inspired by the miners of old time Tincup, Colorado and is meant to honor the mountain lifestyle. In addition to that, it’s meant FOR the mountains. The bottle shape and tin cup cap are meant to be useful for carrying and drinking a bottle as you’re enjoying the fresh air of the Rocky Mountains.
When it comes to the value of Tincup, it all depends upon how you wish to enjoy it. It’s not a whiskey that you are going to deeply analyze. You aren’t going to find new flavors with every sip. It’s tasteful, it’s very easy to sip, and it’s cheap. You may not like that from a whiskey, but guess what? That’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.
Jess Graber set out to make a whiskey inspired by the Rockies for the masses, and that’s exactly what he did. Props to you, Jess. If you’re interested in reading more about Coloradan Alcohol, check out a post HERE on Voodoo Ranger, an IPA made by a craft brewery out of Fort Collins, Colorado.
These are some frequently asked questions about Tincup Whiskey. Many of these are covered in the article above.
Is Tincup a Good Whiskey?
While it lacks the depth and complexity that many whiskey aficionados look for, Tincup is mild and easy to drink. It’s perfect for new whiskey drinkers or those who don’t like strong whiskey.
Is Tincup Bourbon?
While Tincup checks all the criteria to be a bourbon, it does not label itself as one – likely for marketing purposes. instead, they just say it has a bourbon style profile.